Published on April 18, 2019

Remember the hype around the popular @hotdudesreading Instagram? For a while, it seemed like every man on the subway was enthralled in a novel—on purpose, perhaps? Well, it’s now 2019, and the new equivalent to cute guys with books (or firemen with puppies, babies, or kittens) is @boyswithplants, and the timing couldn’t be better. The current frenzy surrounding leafy monsteras, towering birds of paradise, and trailing pothos plants makes this account ripe for virality.

After all, who better to provide plantcare tips than beautiful men with particularly seasoned green thumbs? That was graphic designer Scott Cain’s exact thought when he launched the popular Instagram in 2016. Now, three years, 2,361 posts, and 125,000 followers later, the project is taking on new life as an eponymous pocket-size coffee table book. In it, 50 men from around the world provide insight into their own plant collections and how they learned to care for them.

“I was amazed at how popular these photos became, and through the account, I met a community of plant lovers, including James [Ip] from Singapore,” writes Cain. “James and I started discussing our plant finds, how much sunlight a Pilea needs, and which pot best goes with which plant.” Here, five of the men featured in the book share their best plantcare tips.

If you love that English garden look…

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© Scott Cain, Boys With Plants, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2018

At age 24, Alexander Hoyle is a gardener at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London. The self-described “plantsman” started his career at the tender age of 13 when he was a garden boy at a manor house in the Cotswolds—posh! He (naturally) has a soft spot for traditional English country gardens and ensures that he has something in bloom every week of the year, which takes careful planning. Given that we can barely keep one Pilea alive, consider us impressed.

Green Thumb Tip: “Always consider the size and use-value of the space available; think about light and aspect and choose plants that will thrive in those specific conditions.”

If aesthetics matter above all…

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© Scott Cain, Boys With Plants, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2018

Los Angeles–based art director Dabito is known for his colorful aesthetic and impeccable plant-filled modern boho interiors. Known for using plants far beyond the windowsill, he recommends plant stands, hanging planters, or plant “shelfies” as some of his favorite ways to display greenery. While he loves a large statement plant, he also believes in using vertical space to create height in your room.

Green Thumb Tip: “I love to give my plant babies baths. It helps to keep their leaves clean if any dirt that has built up, which can block them from absorbing light.”

If you prefer tropical vibes…

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© Scott Cain, Boys With Plants, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2018

Cape Town–based Emil Lime is a graphic designer and photographer, so he favors big bountiful greenery with large leaves like peace lilies and rubber plants. For him, the environment and the planter are as important as the plant itself, so he makes sure his chosen species will thrive in its given space.

Green Thumb Tip: “I used to kill my plants until I learned not to overwater.”

If you treat plants as art installations…

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© Scott Cain, Boys With Plants, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2018

For Dutch visual artist Goof Kloosterman, 28, each plant is like a family member. While the Utrecht-based creative doesn’t have a favorite, he has a soft spot for his first plant: a 16-year-old Eve’s needle cactus. His goal: to be entirely surrounded by an indoor garden of diverse plants—and to create a plant exchange community for friends to foster plants that aren’t thriving in their current home.

Green Thumb Tip: “I completely rely on my gut feeling when it comes to taking care of plants. I don’t use rules or systems. I just see or feel if the plant needs care.”

If you prefer going vertical with your plants…

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© Scott Cain, Boys With Plants, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2018

Jan Konmarek is a true plant whisperer. For the Czech native, keeping plants alive is particularly challenging. In Bogotà, Colombia, where he now lives, the high altitude means that afternoon sunlight can be toxic. That said, he has high humidity levels on his side and manages to keep a lush green wall in a shady spot in his home.

Green Thumb Tip: “There’s always space for a new plant. Still, you don’t have to go crazy and buy dozens of plants just to create an ‘urban jungle.’ Keep it simple and remember that your plants will grow and take up more space as time goes on.”

Discover more great plant care tips:

What Greenery to Buy, According to Your Plant Parent Personality
These 9 Plants Can Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity (Yes, Really)
I Took an Online Class to Make Me a Better Plant Parent

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